Updated: Sep 2, 2019
This weekly Torah portion gives us a second chance to conduct something we have done before unsuccessfully, but this time with new powers and inner strength or passion
The portion is continuing a scene happened in last portion. After Balak and Bilam failed in their attempts to course the children of Israel, Bilam tips Balak mentioning to him the weakness of G-d when it comes to His children – idol worship. G-d considers idol worship as idolatry and therefor when his children does such a thing, he becomes jealous and avenging G-d. So Balak send the daughters of Moab to charms the man of Israel, who then learn from them to worship the idol to Peor.
When a high-ranking Israeli takes a Midianite princess into a tent, Pinchas who witnessed the idolatry towards G-d “before the eyes of Moshe and before the eyes of all the congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, could not stand there without doing nothing so he took a spear in his hand and kill them both piercing them through the stomach. Pinchas took matters into his own hands and acted in an extreme manner. He executed Zimri Ben Salu and the Mydinic woman as described in the conclusion of last week’s Torah reading.
What Pinchas did involve self-sacrifice and extreme courage. As written in the scriptures Pinchas turned God’s wrath away from the children of Israel by zealously, and therefore, was granted by G-d a covenant of peace as a reward. Pinchas and his descendants to come will possess an eternal covenant of priesthood, because he zealously acted on behalf of G‑d honor.”
But strangely enough we all know that priesthood cannot be attained through man’s endeavors. It is not at all dependent on spiritual accomplishments, or maybe this portion is here to show us otherwise.
Way zealousness? Or what is so great about pinchas act? Well, Pinchas did not consider the danger to himself. What concerned him was the spiritual danger facing the Jewish people, and he was willing to risk his life to eliminate the threat.
“Pinchas is a remarkable example for a selfless individual - one who is concerned only about the relationship between G‑d and His people.”
So as it appears when a person makes a genuine commitment concerning the divine relationship between G-d and His people, the inner Godly spark which every one of us possesses is given expression. Similarly, such an approach evokes an unbounded response from G‑d. For when man goes beyond his natural limits in his Divine service, G‑d grants him rewards that are not confined by nature.
Pinchas was granted the status of a priest, even though he was not by nature. Usually it is extremely difficult and almost impossible to distinguish our own personal sentiments from those necessary on behalf of the pure cause. The ability to become a pure extension of G-d's will on earth, is something only few can achieve. So, for Pinchas to have been able to reach this level means that he must have been quite special before he stepped into the picture.
Everyone possesses a Pinchas point within him and in order to appreciate who Pinchas is, you have to appreciate who he was. Pinchas is one of the most intriguing characters in the bible, because in a way as we will see, he is a timeless figure. The Zohar gives us the information about the complexity of Pinchas’s soul. When Pinchas was born, he incorporated two soul-sparks. The son of 'Potiel' mean 'tippin' (drops), One soul drop (spark) from the root of Yosef HaTzaddik and the second spark (drop) was from the side of Yisro. That was the level of Ohr P'nimi of the Nefesh of AdamHaRishon from Atzilus.
When Pinchas killed Zimri and Cozvi, he merited the souls of Nadav and Avihu as well, which were the Ohr Makif of AdamRshon of Atzilus.
Nadav and Avihu died because they brought the unauthorized Incense-Offering and So by receiving the souls of Nadav and Avihu who had been Cohanim in the first place, Pinchas became the continuation of their lives, and thus merited the Cehunah himself. Just as Nadav and avihu - the dead children of Aaron the priest, who died because they brought before the G-d foreign fire, which He had not commanded them. Commentators say this act of them was an act that came out from inner passion to serve G-d, to do beyond what was required or asked of them to do. They died on the spot, and both their souls later on entered the Pinchas soul. Maintain the flame of passion towards G-d to be an extreme server.
In fact, it was more crowded within Pinchas than that: The Zohar identify Pinchas with the prophet Eliyahu. The same one who went up in a windstorm to Heaven, the same one who is called at the Seder Night at the houses of Jews around the world towards the end of the Passover Seder when we open the door on 'Sh'foch chamasecha. The same Eliyahu that accompanies every new male child born to the roots of the extended Jewish family all around the world and who will also accompany the Mashiach in end of days. Eliyahu’s divine service was also characterized by zealousness, as it is written. G-d appointed Eliyahu as “the angel of the covenant” and charged him with attending the circumcisions of the Jewish people for all time to come, so that he would attest to their faithful adherence to G‑d’s covenant. Pinchas – Eliyahu was the chosen of chosen.
It is not always easy to say but truth is that Israel national future depends on zealous commitment to maintaining our heritage. But this zealous commitment needs to always be tempered by warmth and loving outreach, which will branch others to discover the Jewish spark within themselves.
Pinchas was personally responsible for the removal of a plague that claimed 24,000 , so maybe in a way we could say that Pinchas also has some sort of a healing energy that is channeled through him during this week. He is a point in us that involved with self-sacrifice and extreme courage. He gives us the ability do take a flaming fire or an extreme passion but restore it correctly and channel it to healing matters and for the greater good. But how do we do it, or what is the direction?
The mind is above emotion. The mind is directing and guiding emotion. Any act of fanaticism does not stems from reason. There is a higher level than the mind that is responsible to it, the unconscious, usually forming through high inner spiritual depth of faith and believe. A power that strives to be revealed and manifest through reason and emotion. This inner devotion to the Master of The Universe comes from a supreme, border-less, unceasing source that brings its subject to perfection. The fact that this is not a duty, does not diminish its value, but rather, increases its value. The value of zealously is so great that it is impossible to demand that everyone reach the level of it. True, it is proper to aspire to the level of Pinchas, to be so attached to G-d that any violation of His honor will lead to fanaticism. This fanaticism is correct and appropriate, but under the right conditions - not out of a desire to go after violent impulses, but out of holy feelings.
Both Pinchas and Eliyahu acts out of zealously, and this Torah Portion gives us a peek to the inner forces and movements working inside the human psyche. When Pinchas came to fix the foreign fire, he also had to deal with fire, but on the contrary, it was a fire of holiness. His act is to deal with fire, with Dinim, with Gevurot - the root of those forces.
Fear is an example of an unacceptable virtue that must be brought to its root. We are not to deny our feelings, our unacceptable virtue but to elevate them and install them in holiness, where they become vessels of light. Whether its sadness, rage, fear and so forth we can benefit from our emotions if we will learn how to master them. We should not repress tendencies we have but rather tilt them to the right side, rearrange their position as beneficial to us and valuable to our surroundings. in a way this portion teaches us to take our goal to the next level but in a more mature way that is not harmful for us and can benefit our surroundings.
Every problem we have is an opportunity in disguise
To find more about this portion spiritual growth and the needed process enter this weeks lesson.